Friday, 20 February 2015

Author reccomendation: Chuck Wendig

Thought I might try out something new here on the blog: author recommendations. This might be the only post under that heading, ever, but at least you know I meant it. - Kristine

Chuck Wendig, I've written his name three times in a short time now and it is already starting to not make sense, but thankfully his writing does. A year ago I had no idea who this person was or what they wrote, then someone retweeted him into my feed and it was funny so I followed him on Twitter and here we are today. I've read five of his books and it is actual agony that a sixth is in the post office waiting for me right now (also, I don't get how it didn't FIT into our mailbox, because then I would have it now. I need a new mailbox). I've read his three Miriam Black novels and his two Heartland novels (plus The Wind has Teeth Tonight: A Gwennie Story which is a short story about, you guessed it, a character from the books named Gwennie). The book at the post office is Atlanta Burns (which, as I understand it, is a bind up of two stories about a character named Atlanta Burns and that's all I know so far because I don't want to know more beforehand. I just want to read it).

The Miriam Black series (Blackbirds, Mockingbird and The Cormorant) follows the titular protagonist who is no-nonsense, ass-kicking angry ball of guilt and a vague sense of right and wrong. There's swearing, sex and violence, and a lot of death, because Miriam touches people and see how they die, and the books center around whether what she sees is faith or if it can be avoided, and if it can should it? Can Miriam decide that? Who else? Necessity solutions. I love this series a lot.

The Heartland Trilogy has two books out so far (and a short story), and those are Under the Empyrean Sky and Blightborn. This is young adult sci-fi fantasy, and it is fun. Here's the official description of Under the Empyrean Sky:

Corn is king in the Heartland, and Cael McAvoy has had enough of it. It’s the only crop the Empyrean government allows the people of the Heartland to grow — and the genetically modified strain is so aggressive that it takes everything the Heartlanders have just to control it. As captain of the Big Sky Scavengers, Cael and his crew sail their rickety ship over the corn day after day, scavenging for valuables, trying to earn much-needed ace notes for their families. But Cael’s tired of surviving life on the ground while the Empyrean elite drift by above in their extravagant sky flotillas. He’s sick of the mayor’s son besting Cael’s crew in the scavenging game. And he’s worried about losing Gwennie — his first mate and the love of his life — forever when their government-chosen spouses are revealed. But most of all, Cael is angry — angry that their lot in life will never get better and that his father doesn’t seem upset about any of it. Cael’s ready to make his own luck . . . even if it means bringing down the wrath of the Empyrean elite and changing life in the Heartland forever.
Sounds a bit familiar doesn't it? It is, there's the extravagant elite with their fancy ways and our heroes with their hard lives, but the characters are worth following, and the genetically modified corn is fascinating and I'll admit to being childish enough to have called my tablet a visidex (because that's something they have here) for weeks after reading this. Cael McAvoy is very much drawn into things thinking he knows something, but he doesn't. He fumbles around doing what he thinks is right, saying stupid shit he never should have said and forgets to listen to his friends sometimes, but his heart is mostly in the right place. These books are quite fast reads, but lengthy and fleshed out enough to be interesting, as is the world, a bit of a genetically modified corn-dystopia really. Warning: You'll be very frustrated by the lack of a third book at the end of Blighborn. I literally shouted "more!!!" when there wasn't any. I would have thrown my book across the room if it wasn't for the fact that I bought it digitally (it was a Kindle Daily Deal at some point) and it would be an expensive toss. In all fairness book two came out in July 2014 and this was September, but the last book is supposed to be out in July 2015, if one is to believe amazon (and I know that they're often wrong in such matters and that such matters can be a little unpredictable, but given that Skyscape is their imprint so I'm guessing it's more likely to be correct).

Wendig has also written books about writing. I know people like them and I might get one at some point (I like writing), but I can't say anything about those, but I've read two very different fiction styles from him and I like it. Especially because I get to roll my eyes over main characters that make mistakes and do stupid shit (and then get to mentally hug them as they realize or fixes things). Yeah. He's definitely been the writer I've read the most of in 2014 and, my psychic ability (to know what I want to read) suggests that his presence is strong in my 2015, he's got books in his brain and I want to read them. Starting with Atlanta Burns. Tomorrow. (I hope).

Chuck Wendig's website is: and his twitter: @chuckwendig

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

My reading goals and challenges for 2015

First I should maybe mention that this is Katastrofekat, returning from the dead. Hallo!
So, my tbr-pile is never ending and that is just the way I prefer it. The thought of having nothing to read gives me mild anxiety and even though I love the library, I much prefer owning the books I read. I collect books. My goal in life, my only proper goal actually, now that I think of it, is to own a library before I'm 30 years old. I've just turned 25 and as of today (and not counting the books on the way in the mail to me, or books I have lent out to my friend and fellow blogger or my mum, so this is just the books in my apartment today), I own 768 physical paper books. So I think this is a very achievable goal, but still something I really work toward. As I'm buying books every time I have money to spare and I can convince my partner to let me spend even more money on books, participating in tbr-projects such as #0by16, seems like a pointless task for me. But I still want to read the books I own, I'm just not in a hurry to finish all my books. To convince me to pick up books I might have forgotten in my tbr-pile, I have set myself some goals and challenges this year.

2015 reading goals

First of all, my goals for this year, is:

- Finish the Cirque du Freak series by Darren Shan (which I started to re-read about a year and a half ago)

- Finish the Bartimaeus trilogy by Jonathan Stroud  (a series I started again last year)

- Start, and hopefully finish, The Last apprentice series. I think this is also called the Seventh Son series or the Wardstone Chronicles, by Joseph Delaney

- Finish re-reading (and reading the end for the first time) The Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket (I started this goal this month)

- Re-read the Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis

So that is the goals I have sat myself for this year. I also have a goodreads challenge to read a hundred books this year, but as I'm already done with 40 books this far, I think this is an achievable goal. Secretly (or not so secretly), I really want to try to finish 200 books in 2015, but I'm not so sure I can do that. Reading slumps is a thing that happens and as I'm living with depression, life can be a bit hard to predict. But if I actually read 200 books in a year, I think I would have to have a party to celebrate this achievement, as it it something I have never thought I would actually manage to do. You can check out my goodreads page and challenge here, if you want to see how I'm doing.

Then there is this:

February Challenge

This is my new challenge jar. I have collected reading challenges from all over the place, so I can't credit the inventors of the challenges, as I have no idea where I got most of them. A few is from the popsugar 2015 reading challenge, some I thought of, and some I heard on booktube. 

Anyways, I plan to pick a note each month and find a book that matches the challenge and then read it that month. I hope this will make my reading a bit more diverse and exciting then it would have been without this jar. 

So, the challenge I picked for February was to read a hyped book you are unsure is for you. 
For this challenge I will either read I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson or  Winger by Andrew Smith. 
I'm not sure which to pick, so do any of you have some input to which I should read?

I also have a tbr-jar. Here it is: 

The book I picked for this month from my tbr-jar, is The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

So there you have it. I have to read two of the three books mentioned in this blogpost, and as I'm really torn between the two books that both fulfill my February challenge, I really want your input on this. Help me out here!